province of Indonesia, on Bangka and Belitung, and several smaller islands
Asia > Southeast Asia > Indonesia > Sumatra > Bangka-Belitung

Bangka-Belitung, cutely abbreviated Babel, is a province in Indonesia consisting of the islands of Bangka and Belitung (Billiton), just off the south-eastern coast of Sumatra.


Map of Bangka-Belitung
  • Pangkalpinang City
  • Bangka Regency
  • Central Bangka Regency
  • South Bangka Regency
  • West Bangka Regency
  • Belitung Regency
  • East Belitung Regency


  • 1 Pangkal Pinang — capital of Bangka-Belitung province
  • 2 Manggar — capital of East Belitung regency
  • 3 Mentok   — capital of West Bangka regency
  • 4 Koba   — capital of Central Bangka regency
  • 5 Sungai Liat — capital of Bangka regency
  • 6 Tanjung Pandan — capital of Belitung regency
  • 7 Toboali   — capital of South Bangka regency



Both Bangka and Belitung, which are outlying islands off the coast of Sumatra, are slowly but surely flourishing as economic and tourism centers. Bangka is noticeably more developed because of a greater population and larger land area and the presence of the province's capital, Pangkal Pinang.

However an increasing number of tourists and hospitality professionals have been shifting their attention to Belitung. It has some of the most beautiful beaches in Indonesia, and one of the most unique in Southeast Asia. There, the turquoise sea and the blue sky meets the white sandy beach and the grey granite boulders.

Bangka and Belitung serve as relaxing weekend breaks for office-goers in Jakarta and Palembang.



Bangka Belitung has a long history of Chinese in-migration, mainly Hakka. Chinese people in the 13th century had started to migrate into the Bangka region. In the 17th century, the rulers of Palembang saw there was extraordinary potential and later they founded tin mines in Belitung. The tin mine was the main reason the Dutch decided to bring contract workers from mainland China, resettling in Belitung. The tin helped drive the island's development and make it the place it is today. Since then, some of the Chinese migrants returned to china while others decided to stay.

Many Chinese from both islands have moved to other provinces, and some of them come back to visit their older relatives on Chinese New Year. So several days before Chinese New Year and 2 weeks after it, airlines add extra flights, but they also greatly increase prices, and hotels follow suit.



Bangka Belitung Islands have tropical climate influenced monsoons are experiencing a wet month for seven months throughout the year and dry month for five months continuously. In 2007 the dry months occurred in August to October with rainy days 11–15 days per month. For the month of wet rainy days 16–27 days per month, occurred in January to July and November to December.

Flora and fauna


Bangka Belitung has various kinds of quality wood that is traded outside the region, such as pelawan, meranti, ramin, mambalong, mandaru, bulin and kerengas. Other forest plants found in the island are keramunting, buk-buk, mate ayem, kapuk, jelutung, pulai, gelam, meranti rawa, mentagor, mahang, various species of mangrove, and others.

Fauna in Bangka Belitung have more common similarities with the fauna in the Riau Archipelago and Peninsular Malaysia than with Sumatra. Some of the animals that can be found in Bangka Belitung are deer, wild boar, beruk, eagle, weasel, and hare, among others.

Get in


By plane


Both Pangkal Pinang on Bangka (PGK IATA) and Tanjung Pandan on Belitung (TJQ IATA) have airports with frequent flights to Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. In addition, Pangkal Pinang is has flights to Palembang and Batam.

By ferry


There are daily slow overnight ferries (~11 hours) and fast Bahari Express hydrofoils several times a day (~3 hours) from Palembang to Mentok, on the western side of Bangka.

PELNI's giant ferries visit the island about once every two weeks, running either from Jakarta to Bangka and onward to Batam, or from Jakarta to Belitung and across to Pontianak in Sumatra. The Jakarta-Bangka leg takes about 24 hours.

Get around


Local transportation is shabby at best and it would be advisable to either rent a car or a motorcycle, but be careful to avoid colliding with reckless drivers from palm oil plantations.

Bahari hydrofoils travel between Pangkal Pinang on Bangka and Tanjung Pandan on Belitung daily (~4 hours). Flights between the two are on and off, enquire locally.

The main attraction of these islands are the lovely, long, clean and tout-free beaches, with crystal clear and surprisingly calm turquoise blue seawater. This makes for fantastic swimming diving, snorkeling and sun bathing. The sand is very fine, clean and brilliant white. Numerous island just off shore (some can be reached by swimming) make for great day trips and views. One small island off Belitung houses a 18 story Dutch lighthouse built in 1889 that can be climbed.

The society's cultures are dominated by Malay and Hakka Chinese. Large numbers of Bugis and Javanese also live here. The Chinese, Bugis and Javanese we're all brought there as contract labourers by the Dutch to mine tin and help domestically. The tin mining used giant dredging boats, that is one reason for the large population of, normally seafaring, Bugis people. There are also some Balinese kampongs and Madurese villages, moved there in Suharto era transmigration plans.



Both Bangka and Belitung offer similar experiences for the tourist, but Belitung is considerably more laid back of the two. At Tanjung Kelayang in Belitung, Kelayang Beach Cottages can arrange tours both inland and on the water.

Eat and drink




There are many resorts in both islands.

Stay safe


Saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) are present within the rivers of both Bangka and Belitung Islands, but they are rarely sighted near popular tourist areas. West Bangka region is a highly malarious area.

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